Be Better

I’ll run the risk of heresy with this,
But I don’t care,
I’ve grown weary of people.
Red hat wearing angry folks,
Pious cause folks,
Loud talking sports commentators,
These are just a few,
Right of left, rich or poor,
I’m ready for some solitude.

Back in my “yute,” I was sports all the time,
There was nothing else,
Only basketball, baseball, or football.
Into my teens, I branched out, boxing, Olympics, weight lifting,
It didn’t matter, I loved them all, (except hockey)
Playing, watching, dissecting, and dreaming
The games were a joy
Win, lose, or draw,
I was up for it.

Maybe sports media ruined it for me,
24/7 sports, the promise of big money for scholarships, travel teams,
Each began to chip away at the fun.
Rivalries became personal, parents became entitled, coaches local royalty
(Or reviled characters depending on playing time and records).
The pageantry left my soul.
I saw the other side and became disillusioned,
Sometimes even part of the problem, a piece of the machine,
An out of control creation that had lost perspective.

I’ve been getting over that…the things I disliked in other and me…
Slowly the joy has been returning,
My interest in sports growing, my love of coaching developing
“And then… And then…“ (You should hear The Coasters on that)
And then along came the darkness,
Shade throwers, egoists, folks bereft of common sense, decency, or niceties
For in this time of COVID when maybe we could all stop thinking the worst
I nearly got concussed by the reaction of some at being put in quarantine.
Too much for a poem, too little information, but our sports team has been shutdown,
We are done for close contact after a positive test for a player on another team,
A rival, a school on the other side of the bypass,
The side where kids grow up, just like ours,
The side where there are problems, just like ours,
Yet for some reason, the two sides don’t see things the same,
Not even with sports, the thing that is supposed to bring people together.

The ugliness I heard tonight disturbed me,
I have friends on the other side of the bypass,
I have compassion for people who are getting sick,
Each day someone stays healthy, wherever they are from,
Is a good effing day,
But when suspicion mixes with virus chatter over basketball schedules,
I’ve got no time for your Travel Channel conspiracy theory thinking,
No time for your entitled sense of what you should be getting,
You should get punked for rivalry baiting, insinuating, just floating ideas out there
All under an umbrella of being a parent of an athlete.

And just like that my perspective changed,
I still love sports, still believe in the value of learning through competition,
Still value the examples of how sports can help heal, can cross hostile boundaries,
Can bring people together.
I still want to coach, to see the players I am fortunate enough to work with grow,
I have a sour taste for people,
The egocentric,
Non-global thinking,
Narrow minded,
Me, me, me-rs who are ruining everything
From the climate to youth league sports.

Be better.

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